Architectural firm A2SO4 ordered to cease operations

A2SO4 Architecture LLC, one of the city’s largest architectural firms, has been forced to temporarily cease operations because it allegedly owes the state more than $43,300 in delinquent taxes.

Signs posted on the doors of the firm’s Union Station offices by the Indiana Department of Revenue indicate the state has revoked the firm's retail merchant certificate, which authorizes companies to withhold sales and employee payroll taxes.

Without such a certificate, businesses cannot legally operate. 

Phone calls to A2SO4’s 300 S. Meridian St. offices were not answered Tuesday.

Department of Revenue spokesman Bob Dittmer said the agency is not permitted to discuss the financial specifics of an individual taxpayer.

However, Marion County Circuit Court records show the state on Feb. 4 filed nine tax warrants against A2SO4 totaling $43,304.

In general, the DOR does not revoke retail merchant certificates without extensive attempts to first seek a resolution with a taxpayer, over “at least” several months. Dittmer said. “We don’t undertake doing this lightly,” he added.

A2SO4 was founded in 2001 by architects Sanford Garner and Vop Osili, who are among relatively few black architects in Indiana. In recent years, the firm had about 20 employees.

Osili, an Indianapolis city-county councilor, left A2SO4 in 2010 to run for Indiana secretary of state. Osili said he sold his interest in the firm in March 2011.

“I have not been involved in the business of A2SO4 in any way for nearly three years, so I have no idea what has happened,” Osili said Tuesday.

A2SO4 ranked as the city’s 11th-largest architectural firm in IBJ’s Book of Lists, with 2011 billings of $3.4 million.

Managing principal Garner in 2011 told IBJ that billings during a rough economy in 2010 fell about $1 million, or about 20 percent, though he said the firm remained profitable.

More recently, A2SO4 was preparing to move its headquarters to a former Catholic church at the southwest corner of College Avenue and North Street, near the Lockerbie neighborhood. It planned to spend about $1 million rehabbing the 11,000-square-foot building, which is larger than the 9,000 square feet A2SO4 occupies in Union Station.

Among the firms’ design work is a new parking garage for the new Wishard Hospital, a series of five-story buildings to surround Barton Tower and several projects at Indianapolis International Airport.

A2SO4 recently performed design work for a renovated international arrivals building and for a new roof at the former United Airlines maintenance center at the airport. Those projects are now in the construction phase.

Garner was honored in 2011 by the American Institute of Architects as one of 11 national recipients of the 2011 AIA Young Architects Award.

He previously served as president of the Washington, D.C.-based National Organization of Minority Architects.

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